The Last Resort

A Memoir of Zimbabwe

by Douglas Rogers

In The Last Resort, journalist Douglas Rogers tells the eye-opening, harrowing and, at times, surprisingly funny story of his parents’ struggle for survival in war-torn Zimbabwe.

For many years, Lyn and Ros Rogers were the owners of Drifters, a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains. But when President Robert Mugabe launched his violent land reclamation programme, everything changed. The Rogers found their home under siege, their friends and neighbours expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleaded with them to do, they hauled out a shotgun and stayed.

Soon afterwards, Douglas returns to find the country of his birth in chaos, and his home transformed into something between a Marx Brothers romp and the Heart of Darkness: marijuana has supplanted maize in the fields; hookers have replaced gap-year kids as guests; soldiers, spies and teenage diamond dealers down beers at the bar. Beyond the farm gates, armed war veterans loyal to Mugabe circle like hungry lions.

And yet, in spite of it all, the Rogers – with the help of friends and locals, black political dissidents among them – hold on. And Douglas begins to see his parents in a new light: unbowed, even heroic. In the process he learns that the “big story” he had pursued throughout his adult life was actually happening in his own backyard.

The Last Resort is an inspiring, edgy roller-coaster adventure, but also a deeply moving testament to the love and loyalty inspired by Zimbabwe and her people.

“Unlike many of the other, more egocentric memoirs written by white Zimbabweans, Rogers’ book captures the rich humanity of the millions of black and white Zimbabweans trying to make sense of the chaotic country around them. His yarn is not just funny and heart-breaking, but utterly engrossing.” – Sunday Times

“This vibrant, tragic and surprisingly funny book is the best account yet of ordinary life – for blacks and whites – under Mugabe’s dictatorship.” – New York Times

“A memoir that is both funny and deeply moving… Rogers’ compassion, humour and frequent bemusement give this heart-stoppingly good book its life force.” – The Times

“So do we really need another memoir by a white Zimbabwean? The surprising answer is yes, if it’s as good as Douglas Rogers’ The Last Resort. A ripping yarn, for sure. But it is in the nuance Rogers brings to Zimbabwe that he truly excels. It moves beyond memoir to become a chronicle of a nation. There is black and white, yes, but much more in the shades and tones of their mix – and it is in exploring them that Rogers, too, finds his art.” – Time Magazine

“A gorgeous, open-hearted book. Rogers manages to do the vital work of taking race out of Zimbabwe’s story and putting the heart and humanity back into it. A must read for anyone who really wants to understand the extraordinary decency of ordinary Zimbabweans” Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight

“Moving and unexpectedly hilarious.” – Mail on Sunday

“A nuanced, funny, and heartbreaking story of one community’s experience of survival in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.” – The New Yorker

“This moving portrayal of his parents’ struggle to reinvent themselves during the chaotic and tumultuous Mugabe regime of this once bountiful, shining example of a prosperous nation, is heartbreaking as well as captivating. This book is a must read.” – The Huffington Post

“Zimbabwe in vertiginous decline is the backdrop for Douglas Rogers’ corrosively funny The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe in which Rogers’s parents attract everyone from prostitutes and diamond dealers to the backpacker lodge.” – Vogue

About Douglas Rogers

Douglas Rogers is an award-winning journalist and travel writer. He was born and raised in Zimbabwe and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.